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Getting Started to Teach Online

If you are an aspiring online teacher or an online freelancer of any field, you may find it overwhelming to plan out for your online career. You probably need a checklist of requirements to help you get started in your chosen avenue. This list details the equipment, work platform, payment method, and work qualifications you need as an online freelancer.


If you wish to work long-term as an online teacher, you will need to invest in some high-quality equipment. The hardware you purchase could be either an asset or disadvantage on your part. So before purchasing any equipment, it is wise to check the features, read product reviews online and make sure that warranty is within a reasonable timeframe.


A headset with noise-cancellation feature is a must have to reduce background noise. This is very useful most especially if you live in a city where noises are prevalent. Make sure that you configure well your headset and microphone in your laptop or computer. Do not use earplugs or earphones.


Although most headsets do have a built-in microphone, some still prefer using a desktop microphone because of its fine audio quality; however it picks up sounds like keyboard and mouse noises. If you can manage the noise in your work area, then consider using a desktop microphone.

Web Camera

If your laptop camera has a poor picture quality; you may need to get yourself a high quality camera. Some web cameras have built-in lights to capture a better video (especially if your room has poor lighting). When you make a better view on cam, it more likely attracts the students.

Laptop or Desktop Computer

You don’t have to get a pricey laptop or computer if you’re on a tight budget. Do not get caught up on the idea that having a monster laptop will help you earn better. Just stick to your purpose of using the computer to be able to teach online. You do not need much space anyway, what you need is a fast computer that can multitask; so a RAM with either 2GB or 4GB is more than enough.

Internet Connection

Since teaching is done via live video sessions, it is vital to get a stable internet connection. If you will work at home, it is highly recommendable to get a DSL connection with high-speed internet service. If you will go on a trip and wish to work anywhere, you may get a pocket Wi-Fi with strong signal.


Setting up your own workstation at home may be overwhelming at first. If you work for a certain online teaching company, you may check their requirements before making any renovation or improvement in your room. Most just prefer a white or any plain background for teaching online. It is also important to keep proper lighting in the room. Avoid places in the house where someone may pass by while you do a video call. As much as possible keep things organized to make a professional-looking office so you can get good impressions from the students.


Direct to Local Bank

If you are freelancing on Upwork, this method lets you withdraw earnings from the said site directly to your bank account (in your local currency). It is considered one of the most inexpensive payment methods for many. It is like a global version of direct deposit.


Whether you work as an individual or teach for an online company, PayPal is a common tool or service for payment receiving. Registration for a PayPal account is free. All you need to do is signup, setup your bank preferences and link it up to your bank account. PayPal usually charges around 2.9% + $0.30 for every transaction but withdrawing to your bank account is free.

Google Wallet

This is one considered Google’s version of PayPal. It offers money transfers and a Google Wallet Card. It is not difficult to spend and receive money. According to Google, they will release a physical card connected to user’s account so they can use it to retail stores. This is very convenient for online payment solutions.


If PayPal or Google Wallet doesn’t accept payment in your country, then using box might be the best option for you. With this payment platform, you can accept payment from Debit and Credit cards to your Local Bank account in your local currency.



This option is the most used if you are to facilitate one on one English lesson. One advantage of using this platform is that most students are already familiar with this. There’ll be no need for teachers to orient the students on the use and features of this platform.  Aside from making video calls, Skype also offers instant messages and has a share screen feature which enables your student to see your computer screen. Using share screen makes the discussion more personal. The teacher can highlight some words on the book to emphasize main points and make his or her own virtual whiteboard. This can make the whole class interactive.

Google Hangouts

This one is similar to Skype; but unlike Skype it has no premium version and has more features. This platform enables calling anyone with Google account. Additionally, it has features like adding embed YouTube videos, using whiteboard (through Cacoo application), sharing screens, recording the hangout, and adding Google video effects—which makes video calls interactive and fun.


The usual level of education required varies between a 2-year college and 4-year university degree. Certificates or special educational certifications or endorsements are not mandatory but these can provide teachers additional training and teaching qualification. The more certificates you get, the more competent you will become and the higher the chance that you will get hired. These credentials range from certificates in teaching online to a master’s degree. Some of the known certifications you can get are CELTA, TEFL, TOEFL, TOEIC, TESOL, IELTS, and the list goes on. Since the common students are non-native speakers, teachers may choose to get TESOL or TEFL. TESOL offers you with general skills to teach ESL at home and abroad, while TEFL will in particular prepare you to teach English abroad. While getting certified may be costly at some point, some companies are offering sponsorship programs so you can receive trainings and get certified for free. Some companies that offer free certifications are English First, TEFL Professional Development Institute, and Alison.

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